Study refutes desperate claim for T. rex being three different species
Earlier this year, we saw a group of researchers make a bold claim: the fossils of the Tyrannosaurus Rex actually belong to three separate species. If this were true, it would open up a new avenue of thinking for the king of dinosaurs towards the end of the Mesozoic era in North America. However, Carthage College and the American Museum of Natural History were quick to prove them wrong, stating that it remains one singular species.
Here are some details of the initial claim and the follow-up report by the American Museum of Natural History that refutes it, showing how T.Rex remains the king of the dinosaurs.
The initial claim: Tyrannosaurus Rex remains should be split into three separate species
The initial report, titled “The Tyrant Lizard King, Queen, and Emperor”, is based on a study performed in March 2022. The group of researchers used 38 T. Rex bones from teeth and legs, where they felt there should be three different species instead of one. The proposal was for the standard Tyrannosaurus Rex as we know it, Tyrannosaurus Imperator, and Tyrannosaurus Regina.
T. imperator is said to be bulkier than the standard Rex, while T. regina is slimmer. The results showed how the fossils differed in size and shape, concluding to the researchers that it couldn’t be a single species. Since then, the American Museum of Natural History and members of Carthage College have been hard at work to see if these claims have any standing.
It’s still the same Tyrannosaurus Rex
According to the latest information from the American Museum of Natural History, the new study shows that we’re still dealing with the same T. Rex species that we’ve all come to love and adore. Not only did they use the same specimens, but they included studies on non-avian therapods and 112 bird species that are descendants of the mighty carnivore.
The conclusion is that there’s not enough evidence to support the claim that the fossils of Tyrannosaurus Rex should be split into three different species. The comparative samples were limited and could not be duplicated. Also, the statistical techniques used in the initial study weren’t correct.
James Napoli, the co-lead author of the new study, has the following to say:
“Their study claimed that the variation in T. rex specimens was so high that they were probably from multiple closely related species of giant meat-eating dinosaur. But this claim was based on a very small comparative sample. When compared to data from hundreds of living birds, we actually found that T. rex is less variable than most living theropod dinosaurs. This line of evidence for proposed multiple species doesn’t hold up.”
We’ll stick to one Tyrannosaurus Rex, thank you
We’re with the American Museum of Natural History. While we may not have a degree in paleontology, the evidence doesn’t appear to support the bold claims of three separate Tyrannosaurus species. Sure, they may have found slight differences in the teeth and legs, but those results couldn’t be replicated.
There have been many instances of this in the past, where someone believed they found a different species, but it was the same as another one. Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus are good examples of similar confusion in the past. For now, we’ll happily believe in a single T. Rex species until we have more conclusive evidence telling us otherwise. If that happens, expect them to appear in games like ARK: Survival Evolved.